In their 2015 manifesto, after much lobbying by New Europeans and others, the Conservative party pledged to give overseas UK voters a Vote for Life. They have failed to deliver on this promise.
Roger Casale, Founder and CEO of New Europeans, has now written to the Prime Minister demanding action before parliament is dissolved.
This follows an exchange of letters between Roger Casale and Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution in which the Minister claimed there was insufficient time to do so.
The Government claims that it needs to change the system for registering voters as they do not keep electoral records that go back that far..
New Europeans has also organised a petition calling for the immediate abolition of the 15 year rule.
Dear Prime Minister,
Most UK citizens living abroad will not be entitled to vote in the election on 8 June.
This is despite a Conservative party manifesto promise to abolish the arbitrary 15 year rule which bars UK citizens from voting after 15 years abroad.
Your Minister for the Constitution, Mr Chris Skidmore MP has written to me to say that there is no time to enact the measure before the dissolution. This was a slap in the face not just for me but also the 614 UK citizens abroad who have already co-signed the letter.
Reforming the electoral registration system is a complicated matter but I can see no reason why that needs to be done at the same time as lifting the ban.
If Electoral Registration Offices can’t find old copies of the electora lregiter, whey not rely on national insurance records? Or check the passports of our former constituents which are renewed every ten years.
So what exactly is the problem that can’t be resolved without new legislation?
Removing the 15 year rule in itself will take no time at all.
Keeping a promise is always the right thing to do, in life as in politics, isn't it?
So next week I ask you to do the right thing and give 5.5m UK citizens the vote for life that your party promised before the election.
Founder and CEO, New Europeans
Former Labour MP for Wimbledon